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Statue Dedicated at the Sandhills Hoke Center

Statue dedicated to Dr. Thomas on the Hoke Center campus. A hand reaching down to lift another up, made of bronze with a silver nitrate patina finish.The inspiring legacy of Mary Kemp Thomas was celebrated under sunny skies on Wednesday, May 5, as a new sculpture dedicated in her honor was unveiled at the Sandhills Community College Hoke Center.

Thomas is recognized as the first Sandhills Community College graduate, earning a high school equivalency certificate in the mid-60s from the newly established community college. She went on to become exceptionally accomplished and demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to improving the lives of others.

Regarded as an inspiration to countless Hoke County citizens, Thomas made many contributions to her community as an educator, community leader, and pastor. She was said to have served others with a glad heart and great compassion and inspired many to see yesterday as a stepping-stone, today as a new beginning, and tomorrow as a limitless possibility.

Addressing the audience of gathered faculty, staff, friends, and family were Sandhills Community College President John Dempsey, Foundation Board Chair Kathy McPherson, Associate Vice President of the Sandhills Hoke Center Twana McKnight, Board of Trustees member Irish Pickett, and Thomas’s children, Jane T. Smith, and Vernice L. Thomas.

The Wingate Community Church of God FBJC Choir and Josiah Justesen, a Ladysticks Music Performing Arts Studio student, performed after the statue was unveiled.

The sculpture, made of bronze with a silver nitrate patina finish, is titled “Communion.” The statue, fabricated by Gary Lee Price Studios of Utah, depicts a hand reaching out to lift another, as Thomas did for many people. It is displayed prominently in front of Upchurch Hall for all who visit the Hoke Center to view and ponder.

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